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In Leicester on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th July Join the girls to help beat cancer by taking part in the Tesco and Cancer Research UK Race for Life 2011

This year, it is hoped that one million women raise an amazing £80 million for the charity’s lifesaving work. The Leicester Race for Life is taking place at Western Park (LE3 6RN) with the 5k race on Saturday July 9th and the 10k on Sunday July 10th. Both races start at 10.30am. Race for Life has helped fund amazing advances in cancer research across the UK for the last 17 years. Every two minutes someone is diagnosed with cancer in the UK. So walk, jog or run to help save more lives.

Enter your local 5k or 10k Race for Life by calling 0871 641 1111 or by visiting...

Editor’sComment It’s an exciting time for everybody at Soar Magazine as we increase from 68 to 84 pages. This is my first issue at the helm, after receiving the baton from Dean Eldredge who, alongside fellow Managing Editor, Gary Webster has ‘moved upstairs’ - to put the change into a sporting context. Sadly, Issue 13 of Soar Magazine has been a pretty unlucky one for many of Leicestershire’s top sporting clubs, with Leicester Tigers tasting a rare defeat in the Aviva Premiership final, Leicester City missing out on promotion and both Leicester Riders and the ladies from the Leicester Hockey Club seeing their play-off hopes end in frustration. It’s time for sports stars and fans across the region to look forward, with great anticipation, to future success. After speaking to a determined Toby Flood, an interview you can read on page 8, I fully expect Tigers to bounce back next season and Leicester City star, Sol Bamba also talks positively about his team’s fortunes. It’s almost a year until the start of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and as well as catching up with medal hopefuls, Paula Radcliffe, Chloe Rodgers and Dan Greaves, we have included details of how you can get involved in the build up to next summer’s sporting extravaganza. We also speak to Leicester’s newly elected Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, who underlines his vision for the city, and catch up with Leicester Lions to see if the much-anticipated return of speedway has been worth the wait. I’d like to thank all of our region’s top sports teams for their help with this issue as we continue to work together to promote the uniquely diverse passion for sport that we have in Leicestershire. Enjoy the read, have a great summer and get ready for more glory in the months ahead…

Editor’s Comment in association with:

Jon Reeves, Editor

Soar Magazine is produced by Soar Media Ltd Phoenix Square, Midland Street, Leicester LE1 1TG T: 0116 2616 892 E: Managing Editors: Dean Eldredge & Gary Webster Editor: Jon Reeves Design: Jon Dodd Advertising: Shane Surdhar Photos: Soar Photo

Lineup Soar Sport 08 Toby Flood 12 Fiona McGorum 14 Torch Relay 16 Paula Radcliffe 20 Sol Bamba 24 Shiv Thakor 28 ICON: Tony Allcock 30 Rob Paternostro 32 Chloe Rogers 34 Leicester Lady Hoops 36 Dan Greaves 38 Lancaster School Soar Health 43 Dean Hodgkin 47 LR Sport 48 The Winning Mind 54 NHS SmokeScreen Soar Lifestyle 58 Olympic Weekend 63 Marks Electrical 64 Sir Peter Soulsby 71 InPictures: Leicester Market 76 SoarPoint: Leicester Speedway

Thanks: Tony Allcock, Sol Bamba, Toby Flood, Dan Greaves, Richard Hall, Jon Heming, Jo Hicks, Dean Hodgkin, Alan Jones, Fiona McGorum, Dan Mitchinson, John Olds, Rob Paternostro, Paula Radcliffe, Chloe Rogers, Marc Sagal, Hardip Singh, Mark Smithson, Sir Peter Soulsby, Gab Stone, Shiv Thakor, Abigail Tordoff, Lorna & Clare at Vista, Surj Virk, Matthew Walne, Jon Wilkins & Ray Wilson. The copyright of all material is owned by Soar Media Ltd and may not be reproduced or published without prior consent. Soar Media Ltd take no responsibility for the claims made by advertisers, nor all of the views expressed by contributors.


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Speedway is up and running in Leicester after a 28-year wait. Read about how the Breedon Aggregates Leicester Lions have roared back into action on page 76.



fter breaking onto the Premiership scene as a teenager and having already earned 39 caps for England, it’s hard to believe that Leicester Tigers fly-half, Toby Flood, is still only 25-years-old. In recent seasons, the Newcastle academy graduate has taken his game to another level, becoming a crucial part of Tigers yearly trophy hunt and making the much-coveted England number 10 jersey his own. In the build up to this season’s Premiership final, which ultimately ended in disappointment for Tigers, Toby spoke to Soar Magazine about his career to date, what it takes to succeed at Welford Road and international success with England. Toby first got into sport at a young age but admits that rugby wasn’t always his main focus. “My dad dragged me to the local rugby club to get rid of some of my energy. He was a big influence and very supportive, whether it was tennis, badminton or diving. “I never thought of becoming a professional rugby player. I played a lot of cricket and football and just

plodded along. I was given a great opportunity to join the academy at Newcastle when I was studying in the city. I worked really hard and came through the system.”

Photo: Tiger Images

Flood knew the time was right to leave Newcastle when Tigers came calling in 2008. “I love Newcastle, it’s always been the family home for me. I enjoyed the academy system, it was a really good group and if you look around the Premiership it’s littered with guys who have left Newcastle. I loved the team and loved the people, but sadly, it wasn’t right behind the scenes.”

Becoming a Leicester Tiger opened Toby’s eyes to the requirements of sustained success and he soon realised there was something special in the Welford Road water. “This club has definitely exceeded my expectations. You understand what the club is about but when you come here and see the strength and conditioning, the nutrition and the way they look after the team, it is really impressive. Tigers have a huge influence on the local community because of their great success and it’s fantastic for me to be a small part of what’s going on here. “There’s a philosophy that success is not from talent, it’s from hard work, grit and determination.

“There’s a huge amount of belief and that filters down into everything. There are no stars here; it’s all about the collective.” During his time at Newcastle and on international duty with England, Flood relished the chance to work with World Cup hero Jonny Wilkinson at close quarters.

to win the shirt but whoever wins it, we’re always supportive of each other.” Toby has developed a good understanding with another talented Englishman, his half-back partner, Ben Youngs.

“I was lucky to have someone like that around, someone widely regarded as the best number 10 in the world, and he was. You’d see him out there working hard, kicking and training harder than anybody else and think ‘why is he doing that if he’s the best player in the world?’ He was, ultimately, happy to lay down a lot of his free time and energy to aspire to be the best.

“He’s a nice guy and I get on with him really well. He’s a very instinctive player, I guess we both are, and the way we feed from one another is important. He’s young and has got a lot of growing and learning to do and that can only be good. I’m not saying he’s a bad player now because he’s absolutely sensational, but he’s only going to get better and that’s probably the most exciting thing. There’s a huge amount to come from him.”

“We have a very similar outlook and get on really well. I don’t see it as a competition, I see it as an amalgamation of two guys trying

Added to the names of Flood and Youngs, Tigers boast an array of young English talent, including Jordan Crane, Tom Croft and Dan

Cole, and that’s not an accident, as Toby explained. “Tigers want to have a core of English players that will stay together. Obviously it hurts the club having that ambition because if we play well enough then we go away with England. It makes the transition, especially for the younger guys, easier when you go into the England setup. We have good friendships and that’s very important but ultimately that team spirit comes from winning trophies.” Flood was a big part of England’s RBS Six Nations success earlier in the year and has extreme confidence in the progress being made under Martin Johnson. “We started with a bang, beating Wales and Italy and came unstuck against Ireland but it’s been a huge step forward from the last couple of years. We probably need to look back and see how we’ve transformed as a side. We definitely feel we’re turning a corner and there’s no longer any fear or doubt that we can win. There is a huge opportunity for us to go out there and win test matches and hopefully we can go far at the World Cup.”

Photo: Tiger Images

Having worked under Richard Cockerill and Martin Johnson for club and country, Toby sees plenty of similarities between the two Tigers legends.


“They’re passionate about winning, it’s as simple as that. There’s an intrinsic drive to get things right and sacrifice their own time and the team’s time to make sure things are right. As a coach you have to lead by example and they definitely do. They’re willing to say and do things that you know they would’ve done themselves.”

“You want to be part of something special and at Tigers there is always a successful drive from inside the club.”

Despite a disappointing defeat in the Premiership final to a plucky Saracens, Toby has been satisfied with his and the team’s form this season. “I started well but you always have a few bumps in the road. The team’s form has been pretty similar. We’ve played really well in large parts but probably haven’t played at our best. If you look at how the team has performed, particularly away, then we’ve been pretty good.”

huge importance in terms of what we’re doing. You have to understand the importance of the pool. It’s not knockout rugby but it sets you up massively for the rest of the tournament. We need to focus on the pool as probably the most important thing we do in the season.”

The Premiership has been dominated by Richard Cockerill’s men in recent seasons, but the Heineken Cup remains a major target for Toby.

Toby has settled well both on and off the pitch in Leicestershire and feels entirely at home.

“I definitely want to win one. They’re pretty elusive but have

“I really like it here. I live near Market Harborough and it’s very relaxed.

Being in a top Premiership side and all the importance that goes with that, it’s quite nice to be able to chill out. I enjoy the countryside because it reminds me of home.” Flood is enjoying his rugby more than ever and wants to remain a Leicester Tiger for as long as he is wanted. “I’m really enjoying my time at Tigers, but you’re always going to leave options open because that’s life. Professional rugby players understand that you play as well as you can and if the club wants you, it wants you and if not, you have to make your bread elsewhere. I love it here and see no reason to move. You want to be part of something special and at Tigers there is always a successful drive from inside the club.”

Photo: Tiger Images

That successful drive and hunger for success will surely be stoked up to another level next season. It’s extremely rare for the Welford Road trophy cabinet to miss out on a yearly addition but with determined young players like Toby Flood in the team, it’s only a matter of time before Tigers fans are celebrating again.










ne of the UK’s most promising race walkers grew up and lives in Leicester. 22-year-old Fiona McGorum is ranked first in the Great Britain under 23s and third in the seniors and has medalled at every UK championship distance. Despite a season disrupted by injury and illness, Fiona still harbours Olympic ambitions and is determined to prove herself at international level. She spoke to Soar Magazine about her career goals, how Go Gold funding has helped her and people’s misconceptions about the sport.

SPORTING SUCCESS? A WALK IN THE PARK… Fiona first took up what many people may see as a less than conventional sport, at a very young age, as she explained.

So who was the teacher that guided Fiona’s first steps in the walking world and have there been other influences on her career?

“My primary school teacher was interested in getting people involved in different sports. I started with cross country and the next year I started race walking and it just went from there.

“George Smolinski was the teacher at Blaby Stokes and he was a major

“I took it up quite quickly but the technique takes a bit of getting used to. Once you’ve mastered it you’re fine but it won’t always stay with you. You have to work on it and keep training. “I also swam and ran cross country at county level when I was younger, but eventually they had to give way for walking because I was much better at it.”

influence. Without him I wouldn’t be doing it. I moved on to the Leicester Walking Club and Chris Smith coached me and then exOlympian, Brian Adams. Now, I’ve moved on to Martin Bell. He’s the current event coach for Wales and used to be UK event coach. He’s been brilliant for me.” The determined 22-year-old explained the dedication required to succeed at the level she’s reached and what an average week’s training entails. “I’ve had to sacrifice my social life a little bit. It’s definitely important to calm down and prepare for races. I train twice a day, with one day off. On my long session I only train once a day. Training includes conditioning, circuits, rep sessions and long and short sessions.”

Clearly in good physical shape, Fiona has to be flexible in more ways than one as she takes part in a range of events and distances.

Photo: Fiona McGorum

“I mainly race 20k. I also do 10k, 5k and 3k because race walkers don’t really get a choice; we have to do all the events.” Fiona classes 2010 as one of her best after several impressive performances. “Last year I had a really good season and was ranked third in my first proper year as a senior. The highlight was being third in the Aviva Trials - the UK Track Championships.” What would the young athlete say to people that don’t see walking as a sport or maybe find the style of movement amusing? “I think they should try it! I mostly train on the streets and I do get a few people shouting but you learn to block it out. It’s different and they don’t really know what you’re doing. It’s faster than most people can run. “When you’re racing there are judges so there’s a definite distinction between running and walking, and the judges can be harsh. There’s a card warning system so if you’re not walking to standard they show you a yellow

“The technique takes a bit of getting used to. Once you’ve mastered it you’re fine.”

disk with a squiggly line or a bent knee sign, which means ‘off the ground’ or you’ve got bent knees. If they think you’re bad enough they can put in a card to recommend that you’re disqualified and once you’ve got three of those you’re out. Luckily that’s never happened to me.” Fiona paid tribute to the funding she has received from Go Gold, a support network she sees as vital. “Go Gold has been amazing. It helped me fund my trip to Switzerland this year and last year, so I was able to get international experience. It helps with travel expenses, equipment and clothes. It also really helps with physio costs when you get injured. The funding is brilliant and I don’t know how I would cope without it.” When she’s not pounding the streets or the track, Fiona keeps herself busy academically, as she explained.

I’ve got exams coming up. Last year I did my under grad at Cardiff in sport and exercise science and I’m at Loughborough completing my masters. I would love to work in sport.” In the future McGorum hopes to succeed at a major international event and whilst she isn’t ruling out an assault on next year’s Olympics, she concedes it might be just out of her reach. “London 2012 is a possibility, but an outside possibility because I’ve been injured and ill this year, so it’s not gone according to plan. But, long-term, competing in an Olympic Games, the Worlds and the Commonwealth Games are big ambitions.” For more information on the Go Gold Talented Athlete Fund visit

“I don’t really have much spare time as I’m studying for a masters degree in sports management and



THE OLYMPICS Torch Relay July 2nd 2012

A little over a year from now the countdown to the 2012 Olympic Games in London will almost be over and Olympic fever will be well and truly gripping people all over Great Britain.

Photos: Jon Heming

As well as being right in the middle of the country, Leicestershire is already central to next summer’s sporting extravaganza, with both the GB and Japanese teams based in the county. Now Leicester has been chosen as one of the locations to be visited by the London 2012 Olympic Torch on its tour of the UK. The city will be one of only four places in the East Midlands to hold a special two-hour long staged evening show, culminating in the arrival of the torch.

“The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across Leicester, celebrating the culture and heritage of the area and showcasing the very best of the city.” Lord Sebastian Coe

The Flame will make its way to the city on Monday July 2nd, 2012 to be transported through the streets before finishing up at Abbey Park. Leicester is one of 66 places across the UK recently chosen to hold an evening event by the London 2012 Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

The Olympic Flame will arrive in the UK from Greece on Friday May 18th, 2012 and the 70-day torch relay across the country will start at Land’s End, Cornwall on the morning of May 19th. The flame is expected to travel an estimated 8,000 miles across the UK, giving thousands of communities and individuals a chance to experience the thrill of the Olympics before it arrives at the Olympic Stadium on July 27th, 2012 for the lighting of the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor of Leicester, said: “It will be a great honour and privilege to have the Olympic Torch visit the city. The event on Abbey Park will highlight community and Olympic spirit across the area.” Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, added: “We are thrilled that Leicester has agreed to host the Olympic Flame on its journey across the UK. The Olympic Flame will shine a light right across Leicester, celebrating the culture and heritage of the area and showcasing the very best of the city.” Further details of the exact route the torch will take, as well as the torch-holders, will be released nearer the event.

To nominate someone for their ‘Moment to Shine’ and be one of the torch bearers for the Leicester leg of the relay visit The LOCOG ‘Moment to Shine’ nomination portal at The deadline for making nominations is 11.59pm on Wednesday 29th June 2011.


Marathon Woman Paula Radcliffe MBE is one of the most instantly recognisable faces in British athletics. An extremely talented distance runner and a legend of the marathon event, Paula’s exceptional ability and commitment to her sport has seen her win a whole host of medals and accumulate plenty of world records. A mother of two, Paula has made a habit of returning to competitive racing after pregnancy and battling with several injuries, showing the type of character that only the world’s elite athletes possess. Now aged 37 and still training as hard as ever, Paula spoke to Soar Magazine about her memories of studying and training at Loughborough University, the highlights of a glittering career and

how she hopes to claim that elusive Olympic title at next year’s Games in London. Firstly Paula, could you tell us about how you got into running and who your main influences were growing up? My dad was the one who introduced me to running as he was a very keen runner himself and took part in marathons. I liked to join him during his training runs.

What are your memories of attending university in Loughborough? It was a fun time with lots of great memories and also where I met Gary, who is now my husband! It’s such a great university and combines sport and studying very well. The facilities there are amazing which is why it attracts so many athletes. In terms of my time there, I had to be very organised as both my study and training was pretty full-on but I also had time to be a normal student and enjoy myself. I enjoy going back there. What do you think of Leicestershire? We love it there. Gary and I have fond memories of the area and have many favourite runs that we love through the beautiful countryside. What do you consider to be your greatest achievement and why? Giving birth to our two beautiful children and after that would be setting the Marathon World Record in 2003.

Could you tell us a bit about the challenge of having children and then returning to competitive athletics? Sometimes it’s a challenge but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have had to become more organised with my time and I’m very lucky that I have Gary, as without him it wouldn’t be possible. Earlier this year we did, for the first time, hire a nanny to help us in the morning when I do my longer session so that Gary could come with me. When I do exercises at home my daughter Isla likes to try and join in, which is always entertaining! You’ve suffered with injuries over the years. Could you give us an insight into the mental strength required to keep coming back? Injuries are part of sport and as an athlete you have to accept that you will get injured. Dealing with injuries makes you stronger and also makes

you appreciate when everything is working well. The fact that I love running is what keeps me going through the cross training! I have always had goals and still do, so that keeps me going. With London 2012 just over a year away, you must be really looking forward to competing in the Olympics on home soil. Could you tell us about your preparations? We split our time between Monaco, the Pyrenees and Albuquerque. Training at high altitude makes a big difference to my fitness levels and training intensity, it’s a vital part of my training plan. We go to Albuquerque every winter, as it is dry and generally perfect conditions to run throughout the winter. I have also been slowly increasing the intensity after the birth of my son Raphael. I didn’t want to rush back into it as I had done with

Isla. Later this year I will do my Olympic qualifying marathon but I am still deciding on which race I will enter. That is likely to be my only marathon before the Olympics. With the injury problems you’ve experienced at previous Games do you see next year as the perfect opportunity to really do yourself justice at an Olympics? It’s a great opportunity and having the biggest sporting event in my home country is a huge advantage. I set the World record in London and have had some great runs in London which will help me a lot on the day. At this stage of my career I know it isn’t my strongest shot but I also have a lot of motivation to do myself justice at an Olympics. I just want to go into the Games healthy. I haven’t been able to say I’ve done that at either Athens or Beijing, so that is all I want, then I can give it my best shot.

“I have a lot of motivation to do myself justice at an Olympics. It’s a great opportunity having the biggest sporting event in my home country.”



Do you feel an extra pressure running in England or does being in familiar surroundings with so many people supporting you help? No, not at all. It’s a big advantage and I only view it as a positive. Do you think the two hour barrier will ever be broken in the marathon? Yes, I think the men are so close now to breaking it, with all the technology and developments. In the perfect race with great conditions and a good course it will eventually be broken. Which athletes or other sportsmen and women inspire you and why? I was inspired into running by watching Ingrid Kristianson race in London. Grete Waitz and Joan Benoit Samuelson were also huge inspirations and the forerunners of female marathoners, more than that all three are and were huge inspirations for the way they live their lives and give back to the sport. What do you like to do to relax away from running? I like to relax with Gary, Isla and Raphael. We like to go to the park or the beach. Monaco is a great and safe environment for the children and there is always something to do. At the moment there seems to be a firework display every night which Isla gets very excited about! Finally Paula, have you given any thought to when you might stop competing and what you’d like to do when you retire from athletics? I will stop when my body can no longer withstand the level of training I need to do in order to compete well. I always said that when the fun is gone from training that is when I will call it a day. I don’t think it will ever be that I tire of racing but rather the training slog and not being able to push and perform at the level I want to.

Photo: Leicester Mercury

Let’s hope that Paula can continue to push and perform all the way up to and including London 2012, when she can end the 26 miles and 385 yards at the front of the pack and looking forward to her moment of glory on the podium.

To read more about Paula’s life on and off the track, read her autobiography, Paula: My Life So Far, which is now out in paperback. Thanks to Octagon PR for their help with this interview.

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THE SOL MAN Leicester City defender Sol Bamba has made quite an impact since signing from Hibernian in January.

The 6’ 3” Ivory Coast international started by smashing the ball past England number one Joe Hart against Manchester City in the FA Cup to become the fastest debut goalscorer in the club’s history. Bamba went on to bag another two goals and defended stoutly for the remainder of the season, making the six-figure fee Sven-Goran Eriksson paid for his services look an absolute steal. He was soon a cult hero for the Blue Army, who adopted the now famous ‘Sol, Sol Bamba’ chant to express their adulation. The day before he returned to France for the summer, Sol Bamba gave us ten minutes of his time at a chilled out Belvoir Drive to talk about his first season with the Foxes, his football journey so far and his aims for next season.

So Sol, what are your earliest memories of playing football? My older brother played so I just followed him. We played on the street next to my house and he played for a local club. I kept begging my mum to let me go and play and it was always ‘no’. Then one day I went on my own and trained with the under 11s. I did well and the manager wanted to sign me, so he came to my house, spoke to my parents and it went from there. What are your early memories of watching football? I watched a lot of football and when Marseille won the Champions League in 1993 I said to myself ‘I want to win that trophy one day’. I looked up to Marcel Desailly and I was in Paris as well so I liked George Weah and David Ginola at Paris St.

Germain. My interest in football came after watching these two teams. What are your memories of your time at PSG? It was mixed because I signed at 13 and stayed for two years. After that we didn’t agree a contract so I moved to Italy for six months, then came back and trained for two years with the first team. I only played two games and wasn’t happy. I wanted to move. They asked me to sign a new deal but I went to Scotland. It was a different style of football but everybody always said they could see me playing in Scotland or England because of my physical presence. I enjoyed it there. It was difficult at the start but I did ok.

Fans seem to have taken to you at every club you’ve been at. Why do you think that is and what do you make of the song the City fans sing for you? I always talk to my family about that and I think it’s because I give everything. Sometimes I have a bad game, like anybody can, but I always try and fight, and I like to defend. Everywhere I’ve been the fans have been great to me.

“Everybody’s singing the song … it’s good to hear and I enjoy it.”

Everybody’s singing the song, my family, my daughter… it’s good to hear and I enjoy it. The fans have been great since I’ve been here. How much of an influence was Sven on your decision to sign? I’d heard about the club before but if Sven wasn’t here I don’t know if I would’ve signed. I know him from the Ivory Coast and he’s been good to me, even if he didn’t play me in the World Cup. He was always talking to me and giving me good advice. At that time I was wondering what to do as I had one year left on my contract at Hibs and he said, ‘just stay and see what happens in the summer or in January,’ and he came here, called me and I signed. It’s great to work with him every day and you learn a lot because he’s a big manager with a lot of experience. I’m lucky to have him here.

Is the club bigger than you thought before you signed? Definitely. You can see it in the stadium, the training facilities and the fans. Everywhere I go the fans say that Leicester should be a Premier League club. I didn’t realise that before I came here but now I know, so hopefully we can manage to do that.

What are your memories of that headline grabbing debut against Manchester City? I remember the goal. It was my first touch and it went in. I couldn’t have asked for any more. It was a good game, I managed to score a goal, we defended well and my teammates helped me a lot, so it was a dream start. I played in Scotland for three and a half years and hardly scored but I’ve come here and scored a few, so obviously the Scottish people aren’t very happy about that! You also played in midfield during your time in Scotland, do you mainly see yourself as a defender and do you fancy having a go up front? I always see myself as a defender. In my first year with Hibernian I played in the midfield all season and did ok. Some people think my best position is midfield but I like defending, but if the manager asks me to play in midfield I can do that. I don’t think


of training and getting ready for games, but it looks good. I’m going back to Paris for the summer and hopefully next season I will come back with my family and have a real look around the city. When I get time off I stay in with my family, my daughter and try to sleep well and be ready for the games.

I’d play up front, going up there for free-kicks and corner-kicks is fine but I don’t think I would be a good striker. Looking back now, last season ultimately ended in disappointment, how would you assess it? Overall, we knew we should have at least reached the play-offs. We had a bad time when we lost to Cardiff and I don’t think we ever really recovered from that. It’s disappointing because I thought we could have reached the play-offs but we need to make sure that’s different next season. There’s a very good spirit in the dressing room. When we need to say something about football we just say it and people listen because we want to improve. This season the target was the play-offs because the manager didn’t start the season here but he’s going to start the pre-season and bring in the players he wants. We’re going to try and win the league. The aim is definitely to get automatic promotion.

“He’s a big manager with a lot of experience. I’m lucky to have him here.” How well have you settled in to Leicester and what do you like to do to relax away from the game? I’ve settled well and people have been nice to me everywhere I go, so it’s been easy, but I’ve not had time to really go and see the city because

Finally Sol, what are your future ambitions? I want to go as high as possible, play for the best team I can and be a regular for my country. I’m not looking too much ahead at the moment, I want to get Leicester into the Premier League and we’ll take it from there.

Already a firm fans’ favourite, helping to deliver Premier League football will ensure that Sol, Sol Bamba goes down as a City legend.

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BATSMAN BEGINS It may be a lot of pressure to put on a teenager’s shoulders, but Leicestershire batsman Shiv Thakor has already been tipped to become one of the County’s top players in the next few years. A young man in a hurry, by the time he was six Shiv was in the County under-nine side and was soon playing in the Everards County League against adults.

play and with the amount of cricket he used to watch on the TV. He came over from India when he was 12 and played for Leicestershire age groups.”

Aged just 17, Thakor already boasts other impressive achievements; he became the youngest ever centurion for Leicestershire in agegroup cricket, grabbed a double century for Loughborough Grammar School and hit an unbeaten 50 at Lord’s for England under 15s in 2008.

As well as his father, Shiv seeks inspiration from arguably the game’s finest ever batsman, Sachin Tendulkar.

The batsman has appeared for the County at all youth levels, played for the second team and recently grabbed a first-class debut century against Loughborough University. After signing a three-year summer contract with LCCC, Shiv is all set to make his mark on the first team. Now at school in Uppingham, Shiv was brought up in Evington, where he caught the cricket bug at an early age. “My dad played, so from a very young age I began to follow cricket and I developed an instant love for the game. I was two or three-yearsold when I first picked up a bat and ball. My dad was definitely one of my biggest influences, watching him

“For someone to be at the top of their game for 20 years and still dominating and showing the passion he does is unbelievable. I admire his talent, it’s obviously a special gift and there are a lot of tips I can take from him. Hopefully I can bring some of those to my game to reach another level.” Shiv played plenty of games for the England Under 19s after being called up for the squad’s tour of Sri Lanka earlier in the year. “It was a great experience. It’s always difficult to play cricket in the subcontinent. It’s the first time I played youth international test matches and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

So could the summer of 2011 see Shiv really make the breakthrough at Grace Road? The ambitious youngster certainly hopes so.

play. We’ve got a good balance so hopefully it will be a good year for Leicestershire.” Shiv was presented the British Asian Sports Male Under 18 Award at a London ceremony in March, something he wasn’t expecting.

“I’d love to play this year. India are coming in August so that’s one to aim for. I suppose it’s all down to me and my performances in the second eleven. Hopefully if everything goes well, I can make my mark this year.”

“It’s a very prestigious event and I was just glad to be part of the final three. It was a great surprise and a real honour to receive the award.”

Shiv spoke of the County’s Academy in glowing terms and explained how fellow graduates and some of the club’s more senior figures have advised him. “Leicestershire have been great at producing youngsters through the system. You can go through them; Josh Cobb, Nathan Buck, Greg Smith, and James Taylor, who has done unbelievably well. They are all role models and hopefully I can learn from them and follow their path. “They’ve been very good in terms of talking to me, giving me advice

Away from the crease, Shiv focuses most of his energy on school work, but cricket is very much his priority.

and helping me in training, and that’s something that runs through the club. Even guys like Matthew Hoggard and Paul Nixon are very approachable, so it’s a great club to be at. “It’s good to have youth and experience at the top and it just keeps it interesting and fun to

“My main aims are to captain England, be the best player in the world and win the World Cup.”

“I’m at Uppingham School and have two years left so it’s a balancing act. When I’m at school I do work alongside my cricket, but cricket takes the main focus in the summer. I board at school so I’m full-time and I play three or four times a week. In summer it builds up to training and playing almost every day. “I play as many sports as I can but I’ve got to be careful with injuries. Away from cricket I listen to music and concentrate on school work.” Shiv certainly doesn’t lack ambition when listing his future goals. “In the short-term, I want to make my mark in the first team here and then progress onwards to England Lions and playing for England. My main aims are to captain England, be the best player in the world and win the World Cup.” Just 17 and aiming to become a cricket legend, remember the name… Shiv Thakor.

Photo: Ed Melia

To keep up to date with all the latest LCCC news read Leicestershire opening batsman Will Jefferson’s exclusive blog for

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Tony Allcock Leicestershire’s Tony Allcock is one of the most recognisable names in bowls. A three-time Indoor World Singles Champion and two-time Outdoor Singles Champion, Allcock also achieved great success representing England and playing in pairs. Now Chief Executive of Bowls England, Tony answered your questions about his career highlights and remaining ambitions... What are your memories of growing up in Leicestershire? Tim, Loughborough It was a village way of life when it was safe to play in the water meadows, which are now Watermead Park, and in the street at night. I spent 23 years in Leicestershire before moving to

Gloucestershire and now Worthing. My brother and sister live in Thurmaston and Queniborough so I come back to see them. How did you first get into bowls? Nick Perkins, Braunstone My mother was an England player, my father was a very good county player and they took up bowls at Goodwood Bowling Club. As a youngster I had to go to these boring matches and didn’t take much of an interest. It wasn’t until I was 11 that I started playing bowls on the lawn behind my parents’ house. In those days young people simply weren’t allowed to play and weren’t accepted by clubs. I played on the corner of cricket fields whilst my parents were playing, until, when I was 14, the local club at Fosse Way accepted me. From the age of 17 I swept the board in all club competitions and reached the all-

England finals in London. My career escalated from there. What was your training regime like? Helen Quinn, via email I never really had any formal coaching; I did my own thing. My technique worked for me but it wasn’t textbook. My delivery was very quick but probably not as accurate as it could be. I had natural ability. My partner, David Bryant, who I won five world titles with, was practised and more refined and tried different techniques, but I just got on with it. What have been the highlights of your career? Suzanne, Glen Parva Winning the World Indoor Championships three times and winning two Outdoor Championships, which are big tournaments and held

every four years, so I held the title for eight years. Playing for such a long time for my country was a big achievement, but it took its toll and I finished prematurely. I finished after one of my most successful indoor seasons and haven’t played since. I don’t regret retiring when I did because I went out at the top and I’ve always tried to be in control. A lot of the England team managers said I finished five years early. What were your experiences of the Commonwealth Games? Tim, via email My best was silver in the singles. I retired before the Manchester Commonwealth Games and became the Performance Director. That was my favourite because I picked a team that, apart from this year, was England’s most successful Commonwealth team. I trained people for the Exceptional Athletes with Disabilities event, including a blind lady who won the world singles title. I also trained and introduced girls like Ellen Falkner and Amy Monkhouse. We won three golds, two silvers and a bronze. Those achievements gave me more satisfaction than my achievements as a player. What other achievements, away from bowls, have given you most pride? Walter Yeates, Melton Mowbray Being honoured by the Queen. I went to get the MBE and she asked me all sorts of questions about bowls and every time I was trying to bow to take a step away she asked another one! I have been described as a high achiever in all aspects of life. I’ve always been determined and set targets. What does your role as Chief Executive of Bowls England involve? Abdul, Leicester I was appointed by the English Bowling Association eight years ago and I’ve been part of unifying

Photos: Leicester Mercury

passion and my sport, but as soon as that starts eating into me then I’ll make the decision and that’s it.

the English Bowling Association and the English Women’s Bowling Association, which was one of my biggest achievements. We are trying to modernise a very traditional sport. We have 2,500 clubs in England and a membership of around 230,000 people, many of which are of an older generation. Bowls is recognised by Sport England as a sport that keeps older people active. What are your remaining aims and ambitions? Tommy, Evington The sport needs to modernise without losing the traditional values. I was born into bowls and 56 years later I’m still right in the middle of it. I have a great responsibility and give up a lot of hours voluntarily. I don’t want any medals for that, it’s my

I show dogs at a very high level and I’ve taken the best of breed for Japanese Chin Toy Spaniels at Crufts for the last four years. I’ve also shown rabbits and guinea pigs. It’s relaxing but tinged with some adrenaline. It’s a diversion, a different world, and you need that. Would you consider playing bowls recreationally when you’re older? Barry, Aylestone Absolutely impossible. I’m probably county standard still, but fatter, uglier and the joints don’t work as well! If I wanted to play competitively then I would’ve carried on the plateau I was at. Do it or don’t do it, no half-measures.

To find out who our ICON will be for issue fourteen, released this autumn, visit our website

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wo years ago Soar Magazine first sat down with Jelson Homes DMU Leicester Riders’ charismatic coach, Rob Paternostro. The ambitious American outlined his plans to establish his new team as a force in the British Basketball League and transform the professionalism of the club both on and off the court. In a frank and considered interview, Rob provided a progress report on his Riders project, assessed the team’s recent efforts and reaffirmed his commitment to staying in Leicester and creating a lasting legacy. “The club has progressed really well. On the court I feel we’ve established ourselves as a highly competitive team. Before, the Riders were looked at as a team that might be a soft touch at times. Our goal was to change that and I think we have. “The most important thing was to let everyone know, including our fans, that we were going to build something here. It may take us time because of financial constraints but we’re here to stay. I feel we are making an impact in the community and with the fans. Over the last few years, wherever I go, there’s a nice buzz around the Riders.”

A top eight finish this season secured Riders’ place in the play-offs, where they narrowly lost to eventual winners, Mersey Tigers, and all things considered, it was an achievement that pleased Rob. “It was a strange season because we had so many injuries and people leaving. I liked working with every guy we had, but circumstances affected us and our level of consistency took a hit. The teams that do well don’t have to deal with those problems as much. Overall, I feel like we were a highly competitive team, fun to watch and our fans could be proud. I was proud of my guys at the end of the year because they worked hard for me.” Paternostro was happy with his business last summer, bringing in some top young US talent, but

he knows that another thorough recruitment process will be required in the coming months. “We brought in some young guys, which is the blueprint for the club because of financial constraints and it seems we’re trying to bring in new guys every year. This year we brought in JR Blount, Jo Harris and Ryan Zamroz and I thought they were all special for first year players. “JR was offered a university assistant coaching role in the States which was too hard for him to pass up. With Zamroz and Harris, both parties are very interested. It all depends on finances and negotiations. “The summer is very busy. It’s not a nine to five punch in at the office, it’s a 24 hours be on alert busy. I get inundated with emails on a daily basis

play or factors we can’t control, but when I step back and take a look at it, I like the position I’m in. I feel grateful to the Riders as they took me when I hadn’t coached in this league before. They’ve treated me and my family well and it’s a nice partnership. I really enjoy living in this area, the people are some of the nicest I’ve come across.” Clearly a man happy in his work, but would a coaching job in Rob’s homeland tempt him away?

“When I look at my life, this is what I want to do. I love coaching the Riders.” with players available and willing to play, about 50 players a day. “This will be my fourth recruiting process and there has been a gradual growth, year after year, of people wanting to come here. When I first arrived nobody had Leicester Riders on their preferred choices but now the word has got out to agents and players across the United States and Europe, about how good this can be for their career.”

“My coaching philosophy is that I don’t want to be married to a particular philosophy. I think you have to adapt to every situation. I’m a big believer in allowing players to express themselves. I’ve had coaches when it’s only their way and at times it has to be. You have to be the guy that steps up and takes the lead, but to be a good listener is also important. “You go through periods where it’s a tough job. There’s a lot of frustration involved, whether it be through our

“When I look at my life, this is what I want to do. I love coaching the Riders. I’m not actively pursuing anything else but as a professional you have to be alert to prospective jobs. It would be nice to coach in the United States, in the right situation, but I feel if you start to believe the grass is greener on the other side you’re making a mistake. If you’re happy where you are and enjoy it, that’s hard to find. Right now as I sit here, especially as the season is over and the stress has left, I am very happy. “We want to win and keep entertaining the fans. I think I’ve developed a special relationship with our fans - that’s how our club is. Players that have left always talk about that family atmosphere at the Riders and for me, right now, this is like my family.”

Whilst scouring the globe for talent, Riders also need to keep an eye on finances, as Rob explained. “We’ve had to be patient. It’s a little frustrating at times because you feel that with a little more you may be able to put out a better product but we want to be sure that we’re here for a while. We have a plan for the long haul.” A man whose enthusiasm is as conspicuous as his love for basketball, Paternostro talked about his approach to coaching and how he sees his future in Leicester.

To see Rob and the Riders in action next campaign, secure your season ticket at


The Only Way is Leicester Born and raised in Essex, Great Britain and England hockey star, Chloe Rogers is one of the first names on the teamsheet for the hugely successful Leicester Hockey Club. A World Cup bronze medallist and a part of Team GB’s 2008 Olympic campaign, Chloe has already achieved a lot in her young career, but has many more goals to score and realise on the pitch. After a childhood dominated by several sports, Chloe had to decide which to focus on. “My dad played for our local hockey club in Essex and I used to watch him. My primary school teacher played for the local hockey club and she encouraged us to play. We did a different sport every night of the week and the caretaker was a keen golfer and he gave us the chance to hit a ball on the school playing fields. It was a normal state primary school, I was just fortunate with the people that worked there. “At secondary school my PE teacher also focused on hockey, so that pushed me forward. Pretty much all of our team played county level and went on to play regionally. I joined a golf club at 12 and played at weekends and in the school holidays. I got further in hockey and was picked for England Under 16s at quite a young age so hockey took over.”

Photo: Darren Crysh

After several years playing for Chelmsford, in 2008 Chloe jumped at the chance to join Leicester, a team she had admired from afar. “I lived in Essex for a lot of my life and my parents still live there. After the Beijing Olympics I moved up to Loughborough to live with my boyfriend and I was looking to move hockey clubs. I wasn’t really happy at Chelmsford, I’d been there years and was a bit stale so I thought it would be a good time try a new coach, a new club and a different set up. Leicester have won a lot and I knew a lot of the girls through England, so it was a good time, after an Olympic cycle, to focus on a new club.

“I think the success has built up over a number of years. They were winning things every year before I joined. I remember going to play against Leicester and we thought we’d have no chance as they had half the GB squad playing for them. You’d just turn up knowing you were going to get thrashed! “Leicester have a culture of expecting to win every game. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being coached by Chris Mayer and hopefully it will carry on for a good few years yet. He’s fantastic with the team and is always striving for more. He wants to coach the best team in Europe.” The 26-year-old midfielder and forward has been satisfied with the team’s performance this season, even though play-off final victory eluded them again.

“It’s been a really good year. We slipped up a bit, losing in the play-off final. It was a very different feeling to last year, where we just didn’t turn up. This year it was a good game, we were just up against a really good side. It was disappointing to lose but we’re still pleased that we’ve consistently been the best team by topping the table. We’ve continued a good run in Europe, getting through to the semi-finals and hopefully we can make the final.” A seasoned international with England and Great Britain, Chloe is part of the elite coaching programme at Bisham Abbey, and has enjoyed plenty of highlights whilst representing her country. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with the GB and England teams for seven years. One of my highlights was winning the bronze medal at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006. I was one of the younger members of the team, it was one of my first senior major tournaments and my first multi-sport event. We didn’t make the final but it was nice to come away with a medal and I scored a penalty stroke in the bronze medal match.

Photo: Ady Kerry/EHB

“I’ve experienced the Olympics but I want to do so much better at the next one.” “The Beijing Olympics were pretty special as well. We finished sixth, which at the time was slightly disappointing because you always want to come away with a medal, but we were ranked tenth going into it. Looking back I was disappointed with how I played. That disappointment has driven me to want to do so much more at London 2012. I’ve experienced the Olympics now but I want to do so much better at the next one. “Last year we had the World Cup in Argentina, which is one of the best places to play because they love hockey. We had Argentina in our group and played against them in

front of 15,000 people, which was brilliant and we only just missed out on the final.” With all that top level experience in the team and next year’s Olympics on home turf, Chloe believes it could be time for their moment of magic on the podium. “The confidence is good and we’ve been climbing the world rankings. In Beijing we were ranked tenth, we’re now ranked fifth and hopefully we’ll be up to fourth by the summer. We won a bronze medal at the World Cup which is the same format as the Olympic competition with the same teams. “In past Olympics the host nation has done well. In Beijing, China won silver and they’d never won a medal before. In Barcelona in 1992, Spain won gold and they’d never won an Olympic medal before, so hopefully we’ll do pretty well. “After London I’ll probably have a bit of time away. A lot depends on how we do as a team as to whether I carry on, but I’ll carry on playing club hockey whatever. I can see myself staying at Leicester, I’m happy here.”

Photo: Ady Kerry/EHB

For more information on Leicester Hockey Club and to keep track of the girls’ European progress visit



he City of Leicester Lady Hoops is a basketball club devoted to encouraging women and girls to take up the sport and get active. Members range from nine to 37 and, as well as running a league for over 200 girls and entering teams at a national level, the club coaches in local schools. The Lady Hoops were originally formed in 1992 by current coach, Jon Wilkins, who explained the club’s story so far. “I’ve been coaching for over 30 years and I love it. I find that girls want to listen, learn and improve. I formed the club in Hinckley, where I used to teach, because there was nowhere for players to go once they reached a certain age. We went into the Midlands League and two years ago we started a ladies National League team.” So how are the Lady Hoops trying to encourage more girls and women into the sport? “We’ve received a grant from the Active Women programme to help us attract more 16 to 25-year-olds back into sport and that’s been invested

A View from the Court… Molly Lewis, aged 16: “Playing basketball, especially with Jon, is about working as a team. We’re all friends and even if we lose, we know we’ve tried and enjoyed ourselves.” Sally Parkin, De Montfort University student: “It’s an opportunity to play against teams from across the country. It’s fun and a good way to keep fit and healthy.”

into five different centres in the city. We go out and coach in places like Highfields and one of our current players came into a drop-in session at Hinckley a couple of years ago. She’s American and a fabulous player but hadn’t played since leaving college in the States 17 years ago.” The club train and play at the Charles Wilson Sports Hall at Leicester University and enjoy a good relationship with the university. “We’ve had four students from Leicester University involved this season and I coach the ladies teams, do coaching courses and some refereeing. The University team did really well this year, winning their

league and reaching the cup final. Lady Hoops worked very hard in the National League, improving every time they played, but we do find that the top four teams are streets ahead.” So what would Jon’s message be to local ladies looking to get active? “Basketball is great for girls and women coming back to sport. It’s easy to pick up and the players get a lot from it. It’s healthy, good fun and allows players to be aggressive. It’s about the love of the game, the social aspect and the girls are great with each other. I pride myself that we’ve got ladies who have played for 20 years and are still coming back.”

Get Involved… The FREE Active Women Programme basketball sessions, for those aged between 16-25 years old, take place at… > New College between 5.30pm and 6.30pm on Tuesdays. > The Highfields Centre between 6.30pm and 7.30pm on Wednesdays.

For more information visit or email Jon Wilkins at

ONLINE NOW... • Alesana Tuilagi • Paul Gallagher • Vanessa Hawkins • Willie Thorne • Rob Paternostro • Peter Shilton


DAN DARES TO DREAM Leicestershire-born discus thrower Dan Greaves is an inspirational character. Not content with dominating his sport in the Paralympics, winning silver in Sydney in 2002, gold in Athens in 2004 and holding the world record, Dan has also represented Great Britain in able-bodied events, including the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Despite already achieving so much, Dan remains hugely ambitious. He is determined to become the first Paralympian to throw over 60 metres and is looking ahead to London 2012 with confidence. Soar grabbed five minutes with Dan just before he started training at Loughborough University’s High Performance Centre and discovered a truly driven but laid-back individual whose passion for success is matched by his love of sport. Dan’s early association with the discus began during his schooldays, when he showed great promise for throwing. “I won my first throwing competition when I was 10. My PE teacher was a hammer thrower and saw I could throw the discus pretty well. I used to be a swimmer and I was quite a big lad at school with big, broad shoulders. I went to my local club where I met my coach. I did it for fun and developed the talent that I have today.

“My parents carted me to training every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. I did quite a lot of training because I enjoyed it so much. I’ve been with my coach, Jim Edwards, for 14 years. It helps having that consistency. He’s put in a lot of time and effort and that’s a product of why I’m so good at throwing. It’s gone past a coach/athlete relationship; he’s a bit like a father figure.” After showing early promise, Dan decided there was only one place for him to continue his progression… Loughborough University. “I grew up in Anstey which was close enough to send my washing home at the weekends! After training here from the age of 13, it

was first choice on my university application. I studied a sport science degree and did a masters in business management and sports science. “When I started, the indoor high performance centre facility wasn’t here, neither were the swimming pools nor the indoor netball and volleyball courts. When I came, the Chairman said he wanted five years of mayhem and, all of a sudden, these facilities just shot up and Loughborough has produced some world-class athletes. It’s ideal that Loughborough’s going to be the 2012 base camp for Team GB.” Dan talked us through what an average week’s training consists of and revealed that he does make time for switching off from the demands of being a full-time athlete.

“Mondays and Wednesdays consist of throwing, core, weights and sprints, with swimming, running and throwing on Tuesday and Thursday. It’s quite a similar pattern but it’s worked and it keeps on working, so we don’t really tweak it that much. “We have a thing called ‘chicken Tuesday’s’ where we grab a Nando’s, hang out at the cinema or go bowling. I also see my girlfriend, who lives in Leeds, at the weekend or whenever I can. It’s nice to get a break from Loughborough because it’s a bubble of athletics, which sometimes gets a bit intense. I have as much downtime as I can because it’s really important to switch off and have a life.” Greaves has enjoyed a glittering career to date. As well as his Paralympic prowess and competing in the Olympics, he is a three-time World Champion. So what have been the highlights? “Representing Great Britain was a major highlight because that was my first entry into able-bodied sport. Disability-wise it would be winning with a world record in Athens in 2004. But, winning the World Championships has probably surpassed that because I came back from being ranked third in the world following the Beijing Games to taking it to the next level and breaking the world record by three or four metres.”

boost or increase the pressure? Dan is taking the positive approach.

Photo: Jon Heming

too well. On the whole, it’s all really enjoyable but I like to mix it up with the big able-bodied throwers. “My aim four years ago was to go for both events, but I think that dream has gone. I want to completely dominate the Paralympic world because I had that title taken away in 2008. If I had won in Beijing I think my mindset would’ve been totally different and I would’ve done the same in 2012, but now it’s about trying to extend this world record, and winning gold in my home country, which would be absolutely unbelievable.” Will competing in London in front of a home crowd give the athletes a

“I think it will play on people’s minds. I deal with it in a good way. I turn it into a positive and get excited about competitions and generally just laugh the pressure off and relax. Some people are really focused and sometimes that works as a negative because you put yourself under subconscious pressure. Hopefully I won’t feel the pressure because we will have done all the hard work. “My main ambition is to win the gold medal in London and keep pushing my world record to get it beyond 60 metres, aiming for 65 metres plus, which would be a magical mark. I would love to start my own business when I retire, but hopefully I’ll keep on going until the Paralympics in Rio.” The weekend before we went to print Dan extended his world record with a throw of 59.27m at the BT Paralympic World Cup in Manchester. A man with plenty more left to achieve, you wouldn’t bet against Dan Greaves grabbing Paralympic gold in London and Brazil.

“I like to mix it up with the big able-bodied throwers.”

Dan takes great pride in his ability to compete against able-bodied athletes, but conceded that attempting to succeed in both events at the 2008 Games in Beijing was perhaps a little too much to take on. “It’s good competing in the 1.5k like I do now and also the 2k that I used to compete in against the able-bodied guys. I used to really enjoy it but I concentrated on it too much and the 1.5k took a back seat, which is why I didn’t perform



he popularity of sport in Leicestershire is almost unrivalled in the UK. With nationally renowned teams in football, rugby, hockey, basketball and cricket, the re-emergence of speedway and countless Olympic hopefuls, sport is a massive part of people’s lives. One Leicester school has decided to use this interest and passion for sport to revitalise their education provision and inspire their students. Lancaster School acquired specialist sports college status in September 2000, which allowed them access to additional funding and they now stand at the forefront of Leicester’s sporting development.

“I was part of a Loughborough University research project that came into the school. We found that boys doing extra-curricular activities achieved higher grades and showed less off-task behaviour. There were a number of reasons for that, including increased blood flow to the brain, a release of endorphins, spending more time with significant adults and gaining discipline through sport. “We’ve looked at developing this. It was dominated by game sports but we added boxing to the curriculum and it went down really well with the kids. We have a boxing club and we’re trying to get an academy set up and to make the facilities

The school has recently tasted success after the Year 10 football team won the National Schools Cup following a 1-0 victory over Northampton School for Boys at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane ground. The Year seven team have also been crowned as county champions, but the school’s success isn’t limited to football. Andy York (pictured above), a member of the PE team and Head of Year 9, explained more about using sport to help with all-round education and how boxing sessions have proved a big hit with the students.

available for the local community. All of the boxing taking place is noncontact, but incorporates the fitness, skills and self-discipline required within the sport. “We received £10,000 from the council and put a lot of extra work into English, Maths and Science. We took the students to an outdoor pursuits centre where they did canoeing and climbing. They wrote their coursework on their experiences, and all of their grades improved. “We work them really hard in the gym and they go back and create a piece of work about the experience. In Maths, we look at heart rates and punching rates and collating that data. It engages the kids and they’re so enthusiastic.” Hardip Singh, Community Sports and Arts Manager, talked about Lancaster’s link-up with Leicester’s elite clubs.

“It’s all about competition, health, the opportunity to forge friendships and develop skills.” Russell Kennedy, Head Teacher

“We have an elite athletes group made up of students who play for nationally recognised teams like Leicester City, Leicester Tigers, Leicester Warriors and county standard tennis players, who utilise the indoor centre facilities, which are the only indoor tennis courts in Leicester.

“Some of the footballers train three or four times a week with Leicester City, play for the school and are academically gifted, trying to study for GCSE’s. We support them in school by offering things like lunchtime homework workshops.

The Year 10 football team with the National Cup

“We have mentoring from sports stars like Rendall Munroe and Karl Brown, and national swimmers and tri-athletes come in and talk about balancing training with schoolwork. “We’ve got England Under 16 basketball players, England indoor cricketers, seven Leicester City Academy players and we help them access funding from things like Go Gold. We try and do everything we can for these elite athletes, but we also provide opportunities for the less talented sportsmen.” Matt Gardner, Director of Sport, reiterated that every student has the opportunity to enjoy sport, not just the elite performers.

“It’s about getting the lads that don’t enjoy being in class to access the curriculum in a different way. We do a lot of work in primary schools, with the tennis centre and other organisations. “Sport has a massive influence on the lads here. We enjoy the success of the sports teams and the curricular success, and I think one breeds another. I love being out there with my teams but also hearing about what has gone well throughout the school.

“It’s never just been about elite sport; it’s about sport for all and opportunities for non-school team players to take part in their own sessions. Our philosophy is that if you find something you enjoy, you’ve got something for life. Within the PE curriculum we offer 16 different activities and hope that, even if it’s at the lowest level, the boys find something they’ll still be doing in 20 years time.” Head Teacher, Russell Kennedy, talked about his pride and belief in the school’s approach. “We’ve used sport across all year groups to provide opportunities for the boys regardless of whether they’re good at sport. It’s all about competition, health, the opportunity to forge friendships and develop skills. “Participation rates are high which shows that the boys are enjoying the subject. We’re good at other things like music and science, our maths results are improving and the number of boys going on to study A-levels is increasing. The facilities are brilliant, we have fantastic staff and I’m very proud of this school.”

For more information about the facilities and education on offer at Lancaster School visit


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0116 2426840 *Price Guarantee - if you can find an identical service or repair at a competitor business within a 5 mile radius outside Evans Halshaw Group for less, within 5 days of the date of your service invoice, we will refund the difference in price. Claims submitted under the Price Guarantee must be accompanied by a genuine written quotation from the competitor business. Retail customers only.


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6-PACK ATTACK A Complete Abdominal Workout for a Mid-section Makeover

To make a visible change, an abdominal programme should comprise of the following three elements; cardio, chisel and core.




We all have a great six pack naturally, but for most of us it’s hidden in a corpulent cover-up, so it’s key to strip away body fat.

The surface muscles, the rectus abdominus and the obliques, should be targeted with a traditional approach.


15 repetitions of each exercise, beginners 1 set, intermediates 2 sets, advanced 3 sets. Try the following two exercises:

Go easy for the first 3-5 mins to warm up then try to maintain 20 mins at effort level 6-7 for beginners, 7-8 for intermediates and 8-9 for advanced. Spend at least 2 mins cooling down. Combat: Technique is not important, just keep moving and keep abdominals tight. Options: Ali shuffle, speedball arms, jab, cross, uppercut, hook, elbow, kick, knee-strike, chop. Sports Drills: No equipment necessary. Jog on the spot between each movement and repetition. Options: Fencers lunge, volleyball dig/set/spike, basketball dribble/ jump shot, tennis forehand/ backhand/smash, rugby pass/ sidestep/line jump.


Weight Transfer: Lie face up on a mat, holding a medicine ball or bag of sugar in both hands, behind your head. As you sit up, lift bent knees towards your chest and place the ball between your knees, then lower down. On the next repetition, switch back again. Focus on a slow, controlled movement. Golf Swing: Hold a dumbbell in both hands, down by your right thigh, feet hip width and knees slightly bent. Keeping your arms almost straight, lift it diagonally across your body, rotating your hips, so the weight ends up above your left shoulder. Now lower it to your left thigh and repeat in the opposite direction.

Toning the deeper abdominal muscles will lead to improved posture and a slimmer appearance.

How? Hold the following two exercises for beginners 20 secs, intermediates 30 secs and advanced 45 secs. Side Bends: In a wide kneeling position, hold a dumbbell in both hands above your head. Keeping a long spine and avoiding rotation of the hips, lower the weight to one side, as far as comfortable and hold. Superman: On all-fours with your knees under your hips and hands under your shoulders, keep the tummy pulled in tight, lift the opposite arm and leg as high as comfortable and hold.

Dean Hodgkin was voted Best International Fitness Presenter at the One Body awards in New York and is a former three-time world karate champion. For more hints and tips on fitness checkout his range of workout DVDs at




COACHING COMMUNITY Q) What do coaches need? A)

o o o

Access to relevant job opportunities Funding information and updates Access to coaching courses

Q) Is this what you are looking for? A) If yes, then why not sign up to the LRS Coaching Community. Once registered you can enjoy all of the above benefits, as well as receiving a quarterly newsletter and becoming part of your local coaching community!

To join the LRS Coaching Community visit Or for more information visit

Is your club looking for funding to work with 14-25 year-olds? Sportivate is a new programme aiming to capture the excitement of London 2012 and provide attractive sporting opportunities for teenagers and young adults, aged 14-25, to receive 6-8 weeks of coaching in the sport of their choice and be guided into regular participation within their community. Sportivate was launched in April 2011 and will run for 4 years until March 2015, receiving an investment of £32 million of National Lottery Funding. The programme is part of the ‘Play’ strand of Sport England’s London 2012 mass participation legacy programme ‘Places People Play’. For information on applying for funding (from April 2012 – March 2013), find the relevant contact in your area by visiting



hat if, in the next few paragraphs, I could give you the secrets to being focused, confident and great under pressure? I’m guessing you would read on. While I may not have all the secrets, I do think I have some ideas that will really help you - and the people, teams and organisations you belong to, manage and lead be more effective. I’ve come about this information honestly through experience working with some of the world’s top athletes and leaders, my own challenges with managing pressure and a desire to help people, teams and companies be at their best when they need to be. My name is Marc Sagal. I’m Managing Partner of a US-based Management Consulting and Sport Psychology firm called Winning Mind and I’m excited to partner with Soar Magazine to provide you with information on leadership, sport psychology and the art and science of performance enhancement. Whether you are shooting a spot kick, giving an important presentation or being shot at, how you manage and relate to pressure can have a profound effect on how you perform. I believe there are three key elements to managing pressure well; namely Concentration, Confidence and Composure. I call these the ‘3C’s.’ Concentration is about paying attention to the right things at the right time. Confidence is about believing in your ability to do well. Composure is about being able to maintain an effective emotional state. The 3C’s are interconnected. For example, confidence impacts both concentration and composure. Because confidence reduces worry and self-doubt, it helps you to stay

focused and minimise distraction. It also reduces the emotional hits you can take when you start to fear that you don’t have what it takes to succeed in any given situation. Let me leave you with something to think about. Something that may be as close to a secret about managing pressure as anything I know. I think one of the biggest mistakes you can make is trying to control your emotions in an attempt to feel good. To expect that you won’t sometimes feel ‘off’, anxious, upset, angry or any other less than optimal emotion is silly. To believe that you will be able to control your emotions no matter what the circumstances is a fool’s errand. Instead of working hard to feel emotionally comfortable so you can perform well, I suggest you learn to perform well despite the discomfort – with the discomfort. The challenge is to stay focused even when you’re out of your comfort zone, to accept that this is a part of life. We all have emotions that have the potential to get in our way. For now,

try the following: pay more attention to when you are feeling off. Think about how you can accept that these feelings are ok and then do your best to get on with it. When you feel uncomfortable, try not to fight, control or fix it. Let it be. Practice this. Let me know what you discover.

For more information on Winning Mind visit

Winning Mind’s clients have included... Liverpool FC, US Army Recruiting, J.P. Morgan, New York Rangers, Atlanta Braves, the Chris Evert Tennis Academy and the United States Marine Corps.

Friday 23rd September 2011 RICS matrics LN&R and LA

Great Balls of Fire The Joint Chair men’s We l c o m e D i n n e r RICS matrics LN&R and LA committees wish to invite you to attend this year’s joint chairmen’s Welcome Dinner. This night is designed to celebrate Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland for the great sporting counties that they are. Come and join us at one of our sports themed tables, to include Leicester Tigers, Northampton Saints, Leicester City Football Club and Rutland Sailing. • Relaxed dress code - No black tie! Come straight from work, in lounge suits or even cocktail dresses • Open event to the public • Entertainment from comedian Billy Bean and magician Carl Buck during a drinks reception • Drinks reception opens at 6pm • Event in aid of Heartlink, The Matt Hampson Foundation and Lionheart Charities

Early Bird Prices*

Booking After 1st July

Table of 10

£291.67 +VAT

Table of 10

£333.33 +VAT

Half Table

£166.67 +VAT

Half Table

£187.50 +VAT

Single *Booking before 01/07/2011

£37.50 +VAT


£41.67 +VAT

Closing date: 16/09/2011

Leicester Tigers rugby Club, Aylestone Road, Leicester LE2 7TR

Book online at


The First Steps to Lifestyle Change


ften the first step to changing something in your life is the hardest to take, whether it’s a career move, social or emotional issue or health improvement, recognising that you need to make that change is vital. One of the first steps to addressing a health issue is visiting the doctor, but what you might not know is that your local GP can refer you to specially trained staff at one of Leicester’s Leisure Centres to help you take the next steps to a healthier future. The Active Lifestyle Scheme is designed to help those who have existing medical conditions,

physical ailments or those who need to make lifestyle changes. Many different health issues, including obesity, high blood pressure, asthma and depression can lead to people being referred by their doctor. The scheme is available for referral by all of the GP surgeries in Leicester with no cost for the referral. Specially trained Active Referral Instructors take people through a step-by-step guide to achieving their goals, providing advice on physical activities and nutrition. Sessions held at local leisure centres cost just £2. Everybody referred to the instructors receives a private consultation in a recently refurbished referral room where they are given a health check, including blood pressure and BMI readings, before receiving advice on different activities.

One of the recently referred members, Sharon, is pictured above talking through her aims and fitness goals at Aylestone Leisure Centre’s private room, which helps provide a relaxed and informal environment for people to discuss their options. Jo Hicks, Physical Activity Officer at Leicester City Council, said: “We have 26 Fitness Instructors across the city facilities and more are being trained. GP referrals are open to anybody whose physical, emotional and mental health can be helped by carrying out physical activity and looking at lifestyle change. “We look at helping people make small gradual changes. It can also lead to people being referred to other self-help organisations like Stop! Smoking and the Food and Activity Buddies.” Ask your doctor or at your local leisure centre for information about how to enrol onto the Active Lifestyle Scheme.

To keep regularly updated with all Leicester City Council sport, follow Leicester Sport on Facebook and Twitter.


LIFE BEGINS AT 60 Lifestyle Fitness is offering local people aged over 60 the chance to join one of the seven Leicester City Council Leisure Centres and enjoy the main activities for free, as part of their 60 Plus campaign. Anybody who is aged 60 and over and lives within the Leicester city boundaries can have free unlimited access to the Lifestyle Fitness suites, public swimming, aerobics classes and racquet sports. Those Leicestershire residents aged over 60 and living outside of the city can still access the facilities but have to pay a small concessionary charge. The Sports Services team at Leicester City Council is focused on supporting all ages, including the older generation, to keep active and improve their overall health and wellbeing. As well as keeping fit, the free activities provide people with a great opportunity to socialise and meet new friends, as some of the 60 Plus groups organise day trips and social events together.

The FREE Activities… • Unlimited use of the Fitness Suites • Swimming • Aerobics • Aqua-aerobics • Yoga • Pilates • Badminton • Table Tennis • Squash

On offer at… > Braunstone Leisure Centre > Evington Leisure Centre > Aylestone Leisure Centre > Cossington Street Sports Centre > Leicester Leys Leisure Centre > New Parks Leisure Centre > Spence Street Sports Centre > St Margaret’s Pastures Sports Centre

Please contact your nearest centre for more information or visit Please note: Proof of address will be required when applying

To keep regularly updated with all Leicester City Council sport, follow Leicester Sport on Facebook and Twitter.


The SmokeScreen intervention is a social marketing campaign that aims to reduce the number of 11 to 15 year-olds taking up cigarette smoking. During this age young people are under the most influence to take up the habit and become life long smokers, so the intervention has focused on visiting secondary schools with one core message… Don’t become a replacement smoker. Following market research with 269 young people, the portrayal of elements of the tobacco industry as a sophisticated organised crime network was identified as a key objective, and the intervention went live in Leicester City January 2011. This unique concept has been branded as The SmokeScreen, using distinctive artwork inspired by films and computer games that young people instantly recognise. The campaign has looked at trends in youth culture and sought to change views on smoking and the

The Facts… The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that just over 5 million deaths worldwide are caused by smoking every year. 5 million deaths a year is 13,698 EVERY DAY! This is equivalent to: • 34 Jumbo Jets Crashing • 7.4 Hurricane Katrinas • 4.6 September 11ths

way the tobacco industry is viewed by young people. So far the response has been overwhelming with just over 5,000 young people from 11 secondary schools and four colleges in Leicester signing up and committing to not becoming replacement smokers. Traditional shock tactics like showing pictures of tar damaged lungs hasn’t had enough of an impact on teenagers with many still taking up smoking despite knowing the associated health risks. Rather than talking about these health risks, The SmokeScreen aims to give young people a reality check about the power and

control of the tobacco industry and how the large brands depend on recruiting young people as replacement smokers due to the high number of people quitting and dying from smoking. The global tobacco industry is big business and estimated to be worth £306 billion by the year 2012. The SmokeScreen focuses on the organised networks that exist, both corporate and criminal. This is done visually by using a mafia style family tree, with tobacco company executives at the top and featuring politicians, smugglers, shopkeepers, all the way down to the replacement smoker. This industry and its products is one of the most destructive to human health.

The Farmer:

“The executives give us the equipment to grow and harvest the crop. They make much more money than us but we don’t have much choice.”

The Executive: “Our tactics are to discover and attack our opponent’s weaknesses.”

The Concept… The SmokeScreen was developed after close consultation with young people and a great deal of critical thinking by Qasim Chowdary, Specialist Advisor for Young People at NHS STOP! Smoking and Commonunity Arts. Together they worked to create and deliver a new and innovative way of reducing the uptake of smoking amongst young people. Innersmile were responsible for the visual representation of the campaign. Qasim explained the theory behind the intervention. “We focus on making an impact when we visit each school. We’ve got one day, one core message and we deliver it to the students using literature, merchandise and incentives to show the concept of a ‘replacement smoker’.

The Friend:

“It’s really easy to get hold of when I need it.”

The Fag House Operative: “It’s easy money. We stack it high and sell it cheap.”

The Feedback…

“The SmokeScreen has been able to reach large audiences with a message that resonates in youth culture. Each character on the family tree is represented in a 24-page educational booklet which details their involvement. Each page also has a fact from the World Health Organisation which highlights how the tobacco network relies on young people to become replacement smokers. “By signing up to the campaign, young people are able to be part of a movement and associate themselves with a brand that makes it acceptable to not get pressured into smoking.”

“I learned lots from Smokescreen, I never want to smoke.” Year 7 student at Sir Jonathan North Community College. “You guys have inspired me to talk to my mum and dad about them quitting smoking.” Year 10 student at English Martyrs Catholic School. “It was such a great day. The kids were so up for it and the ‘replacement’ smoker campaign angle was seen as really interesting, refreshing and powerful.” Teacher at Beaumont Leys School. The Oxford Health Alliance is also conducting follow-up research in five Leicester secondary schools to highlight the effectiveness of The SmokeScreen.

To view a video of the intervention being delivered visit For more information contact 0116 295 4141





South Leicestershire College’s South Wigston campus was officially opened by His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex KG, KCVO, on Tuesday March 29th 2011. The prestigious celebration marked the completion of a £43million project and the arrival of South Leicestershire College into South Wigston.



2 1 0 2

s k o o L r e Leicest to Forwards e m a G e h t

1948 Olympic Medallist Tommy Godwin, GB tri-athletes Mark Buckingham and Katie Ingram and Leicester City Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson with the 1948 Olympic Torch at Leicester City Football Club’s Stadium.

Leicester’s Olympic Countdown Begins On Saturday July 23rd and Sunday July 24th Leicester will be hosting a special Open Weekend as the countdown to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in London enters its final year. The greatest sporting show on earth starts on July 27th 2012 and the City Council’s Sports Services and Sports Development Team have organised the 2012 Open Weekend to celebrate...


Photos: Jon Heming

Photo: Jon Heming

Many sports that will be part of next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games are to be celebrated with the help of local clubs and organisations.

Leicester City legend, Steve Walsh, Box Fit classes with coaches from the city’s boxing clubs and a mini triathlon.

The two-day sports fest will give people in Leicester the opportunity to watch and take part in these sports during a series of free taster sessions held at sports facilities around the city.

There will also be opportunities to watch players from the Leicester Cobras wheelchair basketball team in action whilst they take part in short 3 on 3 matches.

Coaches from some of the city’s top sports clubs will be on hand throughout the weekend to offer tips and try-out sessions in ten sports, including basketball, table tennis, athletics, football and trampolining. Some of the sessions already lined up, include soccer skills with

“Our 2012 Open Weekend is a great opportunity to celebrate a year to go until the prestigious Olympic and Paralympic Games and showcases some of the fantastic local and professional sports clubs we have within our city.” Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor of Leicester

Rory Palmer, Deputy City Mayor of Leicester, is looking forward to the event. “Our 2012 Open Weekend is a great opportunity to celebrate a year to go until the prestigious Olympic and Paralympic Games and showcases

some of the fantastic local and professional sports clubs we have within our city.” Surj Virk, the City Council’s Sport Development Manager, is hoping that focusing people’s minds on the Games will help inspire them to get moving. “The Open Weekend will give local residents a chance to participate in a number of Olympic sports they may not have tried before. We’re hoping it will ignite and encourage the Olympic spirit within our city residents and give the opportunity to try a new sport and get more physically active.” Those taking part in the taster sessions will be given information about their local clubs and any ongoing activities to help them get involved in sport on a regular basis. Leicester is one of hundreds of cities taking part in the 2012 Open Weekend initiative that is now into its fourth year. The London 2012 organising committee (LOCOG) hopes that the network of Open Weekends will showcase the best of what the UK has to offer in art, dance, film and sport. A timetable of the sports and events taking place during the Leicester Open Weekend is shown on the next page.

Open Weekend Timetable Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July, 2011 Many of the City Council’s sports venues will be utilised during the weekend, giving the people of Leicester the opportunity to try a new activity and get into the Olympic spirit.




Braunstone Leisure Centre



9am - 1pm

Braunstone Leisure Centre



10am - 2pm

Leicester Leys Leisure Centre

Wheelchair Basketball


Leicester Leys Leisure Centre



St Margaret’s Pastures Sports Centre



10am - 2pm

St Margaret’s Pastures Sports Centre



10am - 2pm

Saturday and Sunday

10am - 2pm

St Margaret’s Pastures Sports Centre



9.30am - 1.30pm TBC

Aylestone Leisure Centre



10am - 2pm

Aylestone Leisure Centre

Women’s Basketball


9am - 1pm

Aylestone Leisure Centre

Table Tennis


1pm - 5pm

Aylestone Leisure Centre

Gymnastics and Trampolining


10am - 2pm

Evington Leisure Centre



9am - 1pm

Evington Leisure Centre



Cossington Street Sports Centre



Cossington Street Sports Centre



TBC 10am - 2pm 10am - 12pm and 2.30pm - 4.30pm

Spence Street Sports Centre



9am - 1pm

Spence Street Sports Centre



9am - 1pm

Knighton Tennis Centre




Saffron Lane Athletics Stadium




Western Park


Saturday and Sunday

10am - 2pm

This programme is subject to change.

Further details will be released before the Open Weekend. For more information please visit


THE GLIDE OF YOUR LIFE The Gliding Centre at Husbands Bosworth offers people the chance to learn to glide and experience the thrill of gliding. At any age, gliding has a lot to offer both sexes and the Gliding Centre trains young people from 14 ready to go solo at or soon after their 16th birthday. At the other extreme, older pilots of 75 years and over, many of whom started gliding late in life, are members of the Centre. Club Manager, John Olds, gave Soar Magazine a guided tour of the airfield and facilities, explaining what was on offer and how accessible the sport is. On arrival new visitors are welcomed by a relaxed but efficient atmosphere before being introduced to an instructor. Then a short safety briefing is provided and if appropriate, a theory presentation on the art of gliding, before visitors are escorted to the launch point. Training packages come in many variations to suit people’s availability and finances. It may be an exciting but all too short 15 to 20 minute flight with a fully qualified BGA instructor, or a course tailored to your needs from a half day to an intensive week that will take you a

Other Facilities... •

Junior gliding

A function room that seats 80 people


Breakfast and lunch served every day

A well-stocked bar

Photo: Chris Curtis

long way towards the goal of solo flight. The Gliding Centre also run evening courses throughout the summer and corporate events are organised where conference facilities can be mixed with a trial lesson for the candidates. Anybody taking a trial lesson receives a three month temporary membership that allows use of all the club’s facilities and further lessons at members’ rates. All instruction, whether during an individual lesson or on a course, is free of charge and may be with various instructors or within the Centre’s Mentoring system, which ensures that people fly with their own dedicated instructor to enable the best possible rate of progress.

The Club’s two seater training glider fleet of five modern aircraft is one of the best in the UK and is complimented by four excellent single seat gliders for solo pilots. Many members will eventually buy their own glider either individually or in a shared syndicate The costs are then much less. For example, as a private syndicate owner a winch launch for £7.75 starts you off on a flight that might cover several hundred kilometres and last all day! However, private ownership is not a necessity because of the excellent availability of the club’s aircraft. Weather permitting, the club operates seven days a week all year round but in the winter flying is often replaced by ground schools covering all aspects of the sport and preparing the member for better progress when conditions improve. Telephone the office to book a trial lesson. Trial Lessons range from Bronze to Platinum packages and include a mixture of Aero Tow & Winch launches – they all include three months membership to the club, a T-shirt, Certificate, Car Sticker and Club Pen.

For more information visit or call 01858 880 521.




eicester organisation, Marks Electrical, has launched a dedicated television and surround sound system area of their successful store, having previously announced the introduction of an installation service for all appliances sold, covering the Midlands region. The company, based on King Richards Road in Leicester, is a big supporter of Leicestershire sport, sponsoring the Family Stand at Leicester City’s Walkers Stadium, as well as Kirby Muxloe Cricket Club and their own Marks Electrical race car.

Marks Electrical was started by Mark Smithson in 1987 and has developed into one of the country’s most prominent suppliers of electrical equipment. A dedicated and successful local business, Marks Electrical has become a popular household name across the county in the last 24 years. This latest development will see headline brands such as Sony, Samsung and Panasonic on sale from the Marks Electrical showroom, supplementing a current display of over 700 appliances including over

35 range cookers, 15 American fridge-freezers, 100 built-in ovens, 60 hobs, 65 cooker hoods, 80 freestanding cookers, and lots of stainless steel laundry appliances. Marks Electrical owner, Mark Smithson, said: “We are very proud to be able to offer the Leicestershire public and beyond, quality and affordable television and surround sound brands. “This expansion to Marks Electrical underlines our commitment to providing the best products at the best prices. We are unrivalled within our industry.”

For more information please visit or where products can be purchased online.



Leicester’s First Elected Mayor Outlines his Plans Sir Peter Soulsby’s achievements in politics illustrate a lifetime of dedication to public service and the city of Leicester. 17 years as the leader of the City Council and two successful election campaigns in Leicester South were followed by arguably his biggest achievement and challenge, becoming the first ever elected Mayor of Leicester. Soar Magazine spoke to Sir Peter just days into his new role for an exclusive interview with the man who will lead our city for the next four years… What was your motivation for running to become the Mayor of Leicester? I am passionate about this city and I believe in the potential for this city to improve. Having been the leader of the City Council I know what it takes to give Leicester the direction it requires and I was delighted to be voted in by the public. Do you have any key targets, perhaps for the first 100 days in office? We have created somewhere between 50 to 60 initiatives to be achieved within the first 100 days in office. I will be looking at them and reviewing with my cabinet before we make a final decision.

What kind of a mayor do you hope to be? It is important that I listen to the people, but it is critical that I deliver. We are trying to communicate openly with the Leicester public, by going into the city and meeting people. It is early days, but we are looking forward to the challenge. What would constitute a success for your role, given that this is the first time we have had an elected Mayor in Leicester? There is no doubt that we have difficult times ahead economically, which will provide many challenges. However, I believe that success can be determined, certainly within the first year, by the public recognising the new structure we have, who

their Mayor is and agreeing that it was the right decision to elect a Mayor. Voter apathy is a problem in politics. With just a 41% turnout for your election what can be done to combat this? This election created more interest in politics than any I have been involved in – and there have been more than a few! I think the process helped to put politics at the forefront of people’s minds. We had hustings almost every evening, sometimes twice in a day and we had people debating real issues, which can only be a good thing.

How important a role does sport and health play in Leicester? Sport is a crucial part of life for many people in Leicester. We are so fortunate to have top class sports teams such as the Tigers, City, the cricket club, hockey and basketball amongst others. I am also excited about the Leicester Sports Partnership Trust. We now have the major clubs around the table discussing their plans and working together to improve sport and health in the city. You were said to be opposed to the plans for the Football Investment Project at Aylestone Meadows. What were your reasons for this? Yes, I was opposed, and I felt that it was a waste of time and resources to just push ahead with the proposal. I stand by my views and I am delighted that we now have a new option in Riverside College, which is now out of the consultation period. Do you have a message for the sports leaders within Leicester? Clearly they have their own focus and targets as they have businesses to manage. I am pleased, though, that we are able to communicate through the Leicester Sports Partnership Trust and I want them to know that I look forward to working with them all. How will you cope with the pressure and expectation of the role? We have targets to deliver and I have my own standards that I set and will stand by. It is a challenging role, but I have been in politics for a long time and I aim to serve the Leicester public to the best of my ability. How do you relax away from politics? I don’t think it is possible to completely switch off, especially

“I am extremely proud of Leicester and we have so much to offer. I want to listen to the people and deliver for them.” with modern technology and media allowing everyone to communicate wherever they are. I often send emails to myself as reminders for the following day. I enjoy running, although don’t have the chance to do it as often as I used to and I am blessed with a large family, with three daughters and six grandchildren, so I try to spend as much time with them as possible.

Finally, what message do you have for the people of Leicester? I settled here and decided to stay in Leicester after completing my education and I fell in love with the city. I am extremely proud of Leicester and we have so much to offer. I want to listen to the people and deliver for them. This is a great place to live but there is hard work ahead for us all.

For more information on Sir Peter please visit or


Struggling with your sight? Visit VIstore, Leicester’s bespoke shop for people with a sight loss. VIstore stocks a large range of equipment designed for the needs of people living with a sight loss. The range of equipment is vast, with both high-end technology, such as a CCTV electronic magnification reading system and low-end technology, such as large print calendars.

... New flooring laid

The new shop starts to take shape...

Vista Shop empt ied!

Resource Centre stripped out!

Thanks to successful trust fundraising we have now refurbished Vista’s Resource Centre where VIstore is based. Funding was received from the Clothworkers Foundation, Percy Bilton Charity and Edith Murphy Foundation as well as others. They helped Vista to achieve a brighter, more spacious and welcoming environment with excellent colour contrast and wheelchair accessibility.

Product lines include: Clocks and watches Lighting Phones and mobiles Personal care Around the home Anti-glare Mobility Assistive technology

The new VIstore interior

Resource C entre gets n ew , Furniture an d cafe area

New VIstore front

VIstore Coordinator, Ian Smales, said: “The refurbishment of, what was previously known as the Vista Shop, has enabled us to display product lines in a much clearer and more accessible format. Stock is easier for the customers to identify. Now, the customer can take items from the shelves, place it in their basket and then pay at the counter, with staff on hand for those who have questions.�

Centre layout New Resource



A Fresh Approach to Financial Planning


eicester-based Santorini Financial Planning has recently been set up by Matthew Walne. Matthew graduated from De Montfort University in 1996 with a degree in Economics and then broke into the financial industry, as he explained. “I took an office admin role within a financial advisory firm called Sedgwick Financial Services, starting right at the bottom, almost like a tea boy, before getting the necessary qualifications and joining Britannic Insurance. It was a good experience, quite pressurised and very commission based.” After joining another firm, where he became self-employed, Matthew began to expand his portfolio and started up Santorini, adopting a fresh approach to financial planning. “I’ve been doing this job for 11 years now and built up a very nice, loyal client base. People like what I do because it’s different and more about lifestyle. I like to find out what motivates the client and talk to them about their interests and what’s important to them. “I don’t just look at figures, I look at the bigger picture and this sort of life

planning movement is growing. I think the client relationship is much more trust-based and not just a transactional process. I’m friends with quite a few clients and I’ve been to rock concerts with them before.” Matthew explained the variety of services offered by Santorini. “Mainly my focus is retirement and investment planning because retirement is one of the main things people prepare for. It’s a nice thing to help people with. It takes 20 to 30 years of planning with a client, so I’m very much in it for the longterm.” The inspiration for the name Santorini is extremely close to Matthew’s heart. “The name is a great ice breaker. Santorini is a Greek island where my wife and I got married, it’s a lovely place. It’s a different sort of name for a financial business and I think that says a lot about me.” So what does Matthew do to relax away from work?

“With a fourteen month old boy I don’t get that much time to relax! We like taking him to the park, walking the dog and we enjoy our holidays. I’m a big sports fan and used to be a season ticket holder at Leicester City. I’m also a qualified scuba diver.” Walne sees Santorini growing from strength to strength in the future, but not at the expense of his existing clients. “I’ve got room to take on more clients, but I don’t want too many because I want to maintain the service standards I’ve always provided.” For more information about Santorini Financial Planning visit, call 0116 2355 733 or email


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he official opening of Leicester Market’s £600,000 refurbishment, Market Corner, took place on Friday May 13th. In his first official duty, Leicester’s recently elected Mayor, Sir Peter Soulsby, cut the ribbon to unveil Market Corner, which will provide more flexibility to the market through the use of 20 temporary, gazebo-style stalls. Food lovers will be in for a treat as a feast of freshly prepared produce will be on sale every Friday and Saturday in the new open-air piazza and food court. A new Antique Market will also be held at Market Corner every Wednesday. For more information on Leicester Market and Market Corner please visit

In association with:

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Inspiring LeicesterShire Inspire LeicesterShire aims to maximise the benefits of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games for the people of Leicester and Leicestershire. We believe that London 2012 will be a Games for everyone. Find out how you can get involved and create your own 2012 Games Legacy…

Photos: Jon Heming

My Games My Legacy

Get Set

My Games My Legacy is a project designed to raise awareness and promote the Olympic and Paralympic values and the opportunities presented by London 2012 for the people of Leicester and Leicestershire.

Over 350 Leicester and Leicestershire schools and colleges have already signed up to be part of Get Set - the London 2012 education programme, which offers children and young people aged 3-19 years the opportunity to learn more about the Olympic and Paralympic values.

My Games - What does the Olympic and Paralympic Games mean to you? Sport, volunteering, being a spectator, taking part, welcoming visitors to the UK, coaching, helping others enjoy the games?

Open Weekend

My Legacy - How will you create a lasting legacy from the London 2012 Games? Taking up a new sport, supporting a community group, walking to work, being more active, eating more healthily, working harder for exams, volunteering, giving up smoking?

Open Weekend 2011 takes place from 22nd to 24th July as we get ready to celebrate a year to go to the London 2012 Games. This year’s event will be ‘one mass celebration of one year to go the Games’ as a wide range of sports and cultural events take place right across the city and county. Get involved and try something new:

Patchwork Pledge Inspire LeicesterShire & Lionheart Project would like to invite you to get involved with the My Games My Legacy Patchwork Pledge Project, which is designed to inspire people of all ages to get involved and get creative. To create a ‘London 2012 inspired’ pledge blanket in aid of Age Concern, design and crochet/knit your own 6” square to be part of the biggest blanket the region has ever seen. We have received over 3500 squares to date – Get Involved!

London 2012 Olympic Torchbearer Nomination Process Do you know someone who is truly inspirational? Someone who always strives to do their best? London 2012 (or LOCOG) are looking for 8,000 torchbearers to carry the Olympic Flame across the UK during the Olympic Torch Relay in 2012. Nominate someone you know to be a London 2012 Torchbearer and give them their moment to shine. Nominations close on June 29th.

Find out more about all of these areas of activity and more at Follow Inspire LeicesterShire on Twitter and Facebook












the soarpoint

with Leicester Lions Speedway Words by Jon Reeves


hey say good things come to those who wait, and that’s certainly the case for speedway fans across the region. After a 28-year absence and plenty of hard work, the hugely popular sport is now back on track and capturing the imagination of the Leicestershire public once again... The Breedon Aggregates Leicester Lions have been racing at their purpose built Beaumont Park track since a glorious opening night back on April 2nd and despite an inconsistent start, as the new team continues to find it’s feet, the passion, hunger and desire for the Lions remains as strong as ever. Soar Magazine Editor, Jon Reeves, spoke to three of the men determined to see the Lions roar again and help put Leicester back on the speedway map, as team captain Richard Hall, Club Ambassador and Lions legend, Ray Wilson and PR & Press Officer, Alan Jones, talked about the reemergence of the Lions. Jon Reeves: It’s been a 28-year wait but speedway is finally up and running in Leicester. How has it been so far? Ray Wilson: We’ve waited so long and it’s brilliant, not just for speedway, but for Leicester in general as it’s always been regarded as a universal sport. Leicester’s been the home of speedway in years gone by and it’s just a natural thing that we have speedway in Leicester.

we’ve been really pleased. We had a full house on the opening evening and really good crowds for the other races and our crowds are well above the average of a Premier League club. JR: And how have things gone on the track? RH: It takes a while to gel as a team. We’ve all started off pretty rough really and we’ve had a few mechanical problems. I think once we all gel, get the connection going and solve the bike problems, we’ll take a lot of stopping. It’s a new track and we’re getting a different surface week in, week out, but once it settles down I think it’ll be perfect. AJ: Results have been a little patchy. We’ve won our fair share but we’ve also lost league matches at home, which has hurt us a little bit. We picked up a win at Edinburgh where only one team in three years has won in the league and we’re starting to make our presence felt.


Photo: Chris Spires

We’ve got a good team that wants to win and guys that want to ride for Leicester, which is important, and they’re starting to produce on the track as well. We’ve recently signed Mathieu Tresarrieu, a four-time French champion, and he’s added some solidarity. RW: I think we’d all agree that the racing has been exciting. The results are to be expected. We need to settle in and you can’t build a team overnight. Given a couple of years and a bit of patience, I’m sure it will be a great success. JR: Speedway fans in Leicester seem to have a huge passion for the sport... RH: They’re really good fans. They get behind you 110 per cent and

Richard Hall: We get a good crowd every week and there’s a buzz going around the place at the moment. I think the team needs to start winning a few more to keep the fans happy and keep them behind us. Alan Jones: It’s been a huge success for Leicester Speedway. We never really knew what our crowd levels were going to be like so it was a step into the unknown. But,

Photo: Steve Dixon



“You get behind your local team, establish your favourite rider and that’s what energises the atmosphere, that and the smell of the Castrol R oil!” Ray Wilson even when we’re not winning they are still behind us. When I got the phone call to come and ride for Leicester I didn’t know what to expect but it’s been good coming to a new club and doing well. RW: It’s a great spectacle and family sport. There’s never any trouble at a speedway meeting. It’s generally a fast and exciting sport. The thrill of being in a speedway stadium is fantastic. It’s not like

being at Donington when you just see a bit of the action, or one corner, you’re actually in an arena where you see all the action and it gets the old adrenaline flowing. You get behind your local team, establish your favourite rider and that’s what energises the atmosphere, that and the smell of the Castrol R oil! AJ: That hunger for speedway very much remains in Leicester. A lot of the old Lions fans have come back but we’ve also got a new element of people coming here, who haven’t seen the sport before. We do discount family tickets so we get young families in through the gates because they’re our future. It’s an exciting sport, there are 15 races, 60 seconds per race and it’s great fun to watch. It’s a different sport and people are taking to it. If you’re curious, come down and have a look and you’ll be hooked.

A fantastic night out for people of all ages, watching the Leicester Lions at Beaumont Park excites, stimulates and satisfies those eager for the thrills and spills of competitive racing but it’s also drawing many new fans through the gates. With riders prepared to put their bodies on the line, an electric atmosphere and the unique noise and smell of a speedway meeting, watching the Lions is a rip-roaring night out. After 28 years of frustration, hard work and dedication, speedway has returned to Leicester - as a sports fan, the least you can do is go and give it a try!

Grab a piece of the action… 2011 Admission Prices Adults: £15 Over 65’s: £13 Children (aged 10-16): £5 Children (under 10): FREE Family (2 adults & 2 children): £30

For more information on The Breedon Aggregates Leicester Lions visit the club’s official website...

Lions Past and Present The Legend… Ray Wilson In January, Leicester Lions legend Ray Wilson accepted an invitation from promoter David Hemsley to become an ambassador for Leicester Speedway. Wilson was at Leicester for nine seasons and reached the very top of his career, leading his country to World Cup Final victory, becoming British Champion, Leicester’s all-time leading point scorer and claiming over 100 caps for his country.

Ray on becoming Club Ambassador… “I’ve had a bit of involvement purely because I had such a good time

with the Lions back in the 1970s and achieved so much. Speedway is in my blood. My father raced and I was introduced to speedway at a very young age. To see it back in the place I’ve grown up in is absolutely fantastic. “I’ve also got a lot of experience and if I can give some support in any way through what I’ve learnt in the sport then I’m happy to pass it on to David Hemsley and Alan Jones. I want them to make a success of it and if I can help them achieve that then great. I don’t want to receive any kudos, I just want it to be right for the city and the sport, after they’ve worked so hard to get it back.”

His love for speedway… “It’s just been my life. I achieved so much and had great pride in being England team captain for five years, representing my country at the highest level. My time in the sport was absolutely fantastic and hopefully the team can achieve all that again.”

The Captain… Richard Hall Lions team captain, Richard Hall, has been in professional speedway since 2001, riding for a number of teams both in Britain and abroad. He is an Elite and Premier League Champion and has reached the British Individual Championship Final this season.

Richard on getting into speedway… “I’ve always been a grass track racer, my mum and dad brought me up doing grass track racing and then the foot and mouth disease hit England in the 1990s and it had to stop. I was a racer and didn’t want to just sit around so I bought a speedway bike and never looked back. “My mum and dad have been a big influence behind me and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I’d still be

riding. They’ve pushed me all the way. My dad comes and watches pretty much all of my races and mum comes when she can.”

Signing for the Lions… “I live near Redcar and we commute for the races. I like it down here at Leicester. It’s a good setup and we’re doing pretty well. I’m in the best form I’ve ever been in and everything is clicking for me.”

His career highlights and ambitions… “The biggest highlight of my career so far was winning the 2006 Elite League with Peterborough Panthers and qualifying for the World Championships. I recently finished third in the British Championship semi-final and beat the British Champion, Scott Nicholls. My future ambitions are to become World Champion, continue enjoying my racing and to try and earn some money.”



Leicester ‘Breedon Aggregates’ Lions

We are the largest independent aggregates company in the UK and we supply a wide range of products and services across Central England, East Anglia and Scotland. Asphalt Contracting Crushed Rock Decorative Aggregates Ready Mixed Concrete Sand and Gravel Specialist Speedway Shale o






Hot Rock Grill is a stylish new steak and seafood restaurant with a twist in the vibrant area of Braunstone Gate in Leicester. The twist is that your food is brought to your table on your own volcanic ‘Hot Rock’. You can then cook your food on the hot rock exactly to your liking and taste. No oils or fats are used, which makes the food both incredibly tasty and extremely healthy. It’s a unique, delicious, interactive dining experience that allows you to enjoy a meal freshly prepared and cooked to your own personal taste - rare, medium or well done.





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Soar Magazine Issue 13  

Sports, health and lifestyle magazine.